Exciting expedition aims to find out why Bewick’s swans are declining

Conservationist Sacha Dench has taken to the skies to follow the 7242km migration route of Bewick’s swans. 

Sacha Dench flying her paramotor
Sacha Dench will travel by paramotor from Arctic Russia to the UK to follow the migration route of Bewick's swans. © WWT


Over the past two decades, the number of Bewick’s swans arriving in the UK for winter has nearly halved, but the reasons behind this remain unknown.

Braving the cold, Sacha Dench from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) took off in her paramotor on 19 September over Pechora Delta on Russia’s northern coast, commencing her 7242km journey across 11 countries as she follows the migration path of Bewick’s swans.

Dench will stop along the way during the 10-week expedition to speak to locals, hoping to unearth clues that will reveal the reason for the continual decline in Bewick’s swan numbers, before she reaches her final destination at Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, UK – a wintering ground for the swans.

“We’re doing all we can as conservationists to get to the bottom of this problem,” she says, “but it’s not happening fast enough for the swans, so it’s time to get on the road and in the air, to see the places and meet the people that might hold the key to this mystery.”

Dench will be filming her fascinating journey from start to finish and broadcasting video diaries twice a week at flightoftheswans.org, where you can also track her progress via satellite.

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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